Former Circuit Judge Alex Ferrer is again in the news after a recent (and unpromising) appeal to the Supreme Court over a contract dispute. The Florida Supreme Court has heavily criticized the television faux jurist “Judge Alex” for his testimony in a case involving a man who once appeared before him. Judge Alex’s role is related to the case of Noel Doorbal, 36, who received two death sentences from Ferrer for the torture-slayings of a wealthy South Florida couple in 1995. The actual testimony related the prosecution of one of Doorbal’s victims, Marcello Schiller.
While Ferrer insists that this was not voluntary testimony, the Court found it was voluntary and improper — though not enough to support the defendant. The Court wrote “[a] judge may be unnecessarily forced to walk a fine line when he testifies with regard to how the evidence of the suffering of a victim in a case impacted him.” Justice Barbara Pariente viewed this as insufficient in her concurrence and wanted to “go farther and hold that judges should not voluntarily testify in such circumstances” since judicial ethics “prohibit a judge from voluntarily testifying as a character witness.”
Ferrer insists that he was subpoenaed by lawyers for the witness, Miami businessman Marcello Schiller, to tesitify at his sentencing on federal Medicaid fraud charges. Ferrer testified about how Schiller was kidnapped, tortured, forced to sign over his assets and then nearly killed by his captors. He was forced to drink alcohol until intoxicated and then put into a flaming car. He escaped with serious injuries. Ferrer testified as a character witness for Schiller to urge leniency due to what he happened to him.
As discussed here, Judge Alex was before the Supreme Court recently as a party in a doubtful contracts claims. I must confess to having little patience or respect with the growing number of faux judges on television, as discussed here.
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